Thursday, February 18, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Foreign Policy

Gay Israelis have been serving openly in the military for seventeen years, and their country is safer for it.

Viewed from Israel, the continuing witch hunt against gays and lesbians in the U.S. military makes little sense. I have studied and written about the experience of gay soldiers in elite combat units of the Israel Defense Forces, where restrictions on gay enlistment were lifted in 1993, the same year the United States introduced the "don't ask, don't tell" policy requiring gay and lesbian servicemembers to say in the closet or risk being discharged. There has never been any suggestion that the participation of these men has hindered the performance of Israeli combat units.

The United States and Turkey are now the only NATO military powers that do not allow gays to serve openly, but Israel and other countries have shown that the participation of gay soldiers in combat units presents no risk for military effectiveness. What's more, acknowledging their presence might even improve unite cohesion.